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🤳The best user can self-serve
Why operationally complex products are harder to scale…most of the time
Before I say anything, I am fully aware that ERP systems, CRMs, legacy systems are great businesses once scaled. These systems are notoriously challenging to replace, boasting low churn rates and often commanding substantial annual contracts due to their integral role in a company's operations.
However, my aim today is to persuade you that the most desirable users for your business are those who thrive with minimal hand holding. The self-service model in software onboarding centers around the belief that the ultimate user experience starts with empowering individuals to sign up for and utilize your product autonomously, without relying heavily on customer support or technical assistance. The product is intuitive enough that new users quickly and easily understands its purpose.
The advantages of the self-service model are crystal clear: it offers instant gratification, empowers users, scales efficiently, reduces costs, and extends accessibility on a global scale. In a previous post, I emphasized the significance of a success team as you scale your product. However, as your product continues to grow, you wouldn't want to see a proportional increase in your supporting teams. Products that can deliver an "aha moment" the moment a user logs in tend to capture and sustain user attention for more extended periods. Think back to the first time you used "sign in with Google." It probably left you thinking, "This is amazing! I don't need to remember yet another password." Your goal is to inspire that level of excitement in your users.
Nevertheless, it's essential to acknowledge the potential drawbacks of self-service onboarding. Users who breeze in with minimal friction during sign-up might also exit just as easily, leading to higher churn rates. They may also exhibit a lower willingness to pay, and acquiring them can be costly, especially through paid advertising.
So, where does the sweet spot lie? It's in achieving self-service sign-up for a product that's both sticky and indispensable to a business. A prime example that comes to mind is Notion. Personally, I've never had a conversation with a Notion sales representative, yet I adore the product. Even when I was pushed to discontinue my use (due to external factors), I frequently found myself returning to Notion, necessitating the retention of my license by the company.
While we must appreciate the resilience and importance of certain complex software systems, there's a compelling case to be made for prioritizing users who can swiftly adapt and thrive with minimal intervention. The self-service model offers undeniable benefits, but its true power is unleashed when applied to products that users can't live without. Balancing the user experience with scalability and efficiency is the key to not only capturing your users' excitement but also retaining their loyalty in the long run.